Thrifty Tip: Get Organized

 Posted by on August 11, 2008  Add comments  Tagged with: ,
Aug 112008

(Continuing my Thrifty Tips You Can Use series).

It’s my opinion that true frugality requires planning and organization. Disorganization costs you money!

Have you ever made a special trip to the store and paid full price for something because you ran out, and it was an emergency?

Have you ever bought a replacement for something you knew you already had, but couldn’t find?

Do you ever pay late fees on bills, because you misplaced and forgot about them?

Do you run around frantically looking for lost items, instead of working?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then disorganization has cost you money. If you want to avoid these costly mistakes, you can start by doing one thing.

Quit buying more stuff.

I’m serious. I know that it sounds harsh, and the urge to buy stuff can sometimes seem impossible to resist. In our society of misplaced priorities, we are made to feel guilty, or even deprived if we don’t have the latest and greatest thing. Advertising even leads us to believe that we will be happier, and all of our problems will be solved if we just buy this vacuum, or car, or perfume, or whatever.

It’s a lie.

Inevitably, that one little thing that we buy to make us happy, simply adds to the clutter, chaos and debt in our lives.

It’s just not worth it.

If you really want to get organized, save money, and simplify your life, you must train yourself to quit buying stuff that you don’t need. You also need to teach your children that they simply can’t have everything they want, because life just doesn’t work that way. I don’t know about you, but every time I’ve purchased something that my child desperately wanted, she lost interest in it a few weeks, or even days later! Now, we have a rule that no toys are purchased except on birthdays and Christmas. Bee knows that we won’t back down on this, and she doesn’t even bother to ask for stuff in stores anymore. She does still get the occasional, very inexpensive toy at a garage sale, but we try to keep this to a minimum too.

I would like to challenge you to shop for nothing but groceries for one full month. No clothes, toys, books, or CDs. Just groceries (this includes necessities, like toothpaste and shampoo). You’ll be amazed at how much easier your life is when you don’t bring home a bunch of unnecessary stuff every week. The effect on your pocketbook will be even more incredible.

In addition to a stuff-buying moratorium, I challenge you to find 10 things in your home this week that you can get rid of. When you find them, put them in a box, seal it up, and put it in your car to go to Goodwill, or a consignment store. If possible, take the stuff there right away. If not, do NOT be tempted to bring stuff back in. Remember that you’re trying to get organized, and all of your stuff is hindering your progress!

Having lots of stuff means spending lots of time cleaning it, putting it away, and trying to figure out what to do with it when it becomes outgrown, broken, or forgotten.

Wouldn’t you rather spend that time reading a good book instead?


  12 Responses to “Thrifty Tip: Get Organized”

  1. Im really gonna try this one.

  2. You know, I answered yes to all four questions…how sad:( I said to myself, YES, you will participate and not buy anything for one month…then I actually started to panic! I never tried this before! Wish me luck…I better pray to help me get through this!

  3. Here via “We Are THAT Family” and I just love the name of your blog. I wish my husband could be more like this. I tell him all the time he needs to enjoy what we have and not talk about what other people have all the time.

    I love your tip, too. I’ll be back, a lot!

  4. I probably won’t do this right now since school is starting its an expensive month. Hopefully as soon as we get settled into the routine and they stop coming home with lists that each teacher requires. Oh and girl scout sign up I am sure that will require some stuff. But will be a great thing to do before Christmas shopping starts.

    We also do not buy toys for our kids except for birthday and Christmas. However they do get stuff at garage sales. That is why they love them. It”s their only hope of getting new stuff. It also makes them appreciate how expensive stuff is to buy it new.
    I find that the real key to being frugal is preplanning. I buy all seasonal clothes the year before on clearance. I shop garage sales for winter clothes even if its 100 degrees. We buy halloween costumes the year before at 75% to 905 off.
    I do not buy items not on clearance or a big sale. PERIOD and to do that I have to buy stuff well in advance to have it when I need it.

  5. I completely agree with you! I love organizing and it does save me time and money. And purging every so often gives me less to clean. I have one active collectible, and that is my Pfaltzgraff pottery. But we use it daily, so its more than a collectible. I do shop at Goodwill & yardsales, but I am very selective about what I buy and bring back into the house. It makes a huge difference!

  6. You were talking about me, right? I know I am very unorganized. I definitely need to try this.

  7. hmm. This is an interesting challenge…and I know I should do it – but like Carla, since it’s the start of school coming up (and it’s their FIRST school year, and they’ve grown like weeds this summer), I know I’m going to need to get some clothes this month…

    Can I postpone my challenge?

  8. (And did I mention that you’re tagged? I can’t remember if I did! LOL)

  9. I’m SO with you on this one Heather!! It’s completely true. Less stuff equals a tidier, more orderly house and life. 🙂 We are a bit “strapped” at the moment and just buying groceries…. we are saving lots (and we aren’t big spenders normally anyway).

  10. Since starting my compulsive puring in January this year, I shop for non-groceries with a much more critical eye. I suffer from less buyers remorse if I ask myself this: Do I really want to buy that just to throw it out in a few weeks?

    There’s something very spiritually and emotionally uncluttering about getting physically uncluttered.

    Good post.

  11. Janel, I’m praying for your success! You CAN do it!

  12. That sounds like a good idea to have set times for toys rather than them just getting them whenever they want.

    We end up with loads of stuff mainly because we keep things rather than because we buy lots. I’m thinking a car boot sale would be agood idea but I need to think of a way of selling the idea to my husband.

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